Yesterday, the government rested its case against whistleblower Bradley Manning, and the defense will begin arguments on Monday, July 8. Manning, a U.S. army private who leaked state documents and intelligence to WikiLeaks, is accused of 21 serious offenses, including "aiding the enemy." In the first leg of the trial, which began on June 3—three years after Manning's arrest—the prosecution's case hit several snags. The Guardian reports: The prosecution has hit a number of legal hurdles, including conflicting testimony and paucity of concrete evidence. The most embarrassing admission was that the Army had mislaid the standard contract Manning signed that laid out the terms of his access to classified information upon deployment to Iraq. … it was revealed that the government had lost one copy of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that Manning had signed and had routinely burned a second copy filled out by the soldier and all other members of his unit.The question of whether Manning truly violated the terms of his access privileges could hinge on the missing contract. The Guardian says that Manning’s defense is likely to use the lost document as grounds to dismiss some of the charges laid against him. The prosecution has also struggled to demonstrate that Manning’s transfer of documents involved malicious foresight and that he attempted to deliberately provide intelligence to al-Qaeda.Manning’s leak was the largest in U.S. history. The outcome of the trial could affect the ongoing case of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who currently remains in political limbo in Russia, with a U.S. warrant out for his arrest.
Emma Foehringer Merchant is a summer 2013 editorial intern.